Highway 1 is a narrow, twisty, two-lane road, which in places has huge drop offs on the ocean side of the road. If you have ever driven a twisty, narrow mountain road, and felt fearful, you may not like this road. If you have a fear of heights, you may find that looking over the side in some areas will cause you to feel tense and uncomfortable. If so, highway 1 may not be for you. If you would like to drive from southern California to the Monterey area an alternate route would be inland along highway 101. Unfortunately you will miss this beautiful coastline, but highway 101 also has its own beauty, and if you are driving highway 1 in fear you will not enjoy it anyhow. If this is the case, visit Monterey and drive the 17-Mile Drive (a fee road), the Ocean View Boulevard that loops from highway 68 in Monterey (at no cost to you, I might add), and visit Point Lobos State Preserve, which is just a short distance south of Carmel along highway one. Although you will miss some of the spectacular country where the land drops suddenly to the ocean, you will still find stunning ocean views from these drives.
While Hwy 1 winding through Big Sur may be an immensely scenic drive, it is also very narrow, with a few blind turns and steep dropoffs. At some points on the drive, you can look out towards the ocean and see a 1000-foot cliff droping beside you. So while this route's scenery may command your attention, the road should be your main focus. If you're driving south you have more of a problem with cliffs, so driving north can solve that problem.
Its pouring rain in Big Sur...call ahead for road hazards, rocks and closures....ya never know..The road south of nepenthe closes at least once a year...call Nepenthe restaurant, they seem to know whats going on south of there. Highway One is awesome, but call to be safe!!
Last week we were visiting in San Francisco and thought we might take the scenic Route 1= Pacific Coast Hwy down from Monterey to Los Angeles. If you have even a slight aversion to heights, this roadway is definitely not for you. I can honestly say that I have renewed respect and trust in my husband's driving skills. I was unable to even pick my head up in the car, the hairpin turns were so severe, the drops were so sheer and the view was absolutely frightening instead of breathtaking that I thought each turn of the road was my last. Although my husband went 20 miles per hour in certain areas, I had to ride for close to 3 hours with my hands in front of my face. Secondly, once you are on it, there is no way to get off this road until you come down to sea level, hours and miles ahead. It was a very stressful ride for my husband because it was literally hours in duration and extremely exhausting for him. if you have any apprehension of being up on high places, a better alternative is to take Route 101 which is further inland and view some National Geographic photos on line. The experience kind of spoiled the days' trip before, and made me very apprehensive about any driving in CA.
Well, I wouldn't alarm you by calling this a WARNING... It's more like DRIVING TIPS. So here it goes.... Oh wait. Before I proceed, I managed to get the following details from the Tourist Office (via this little leaflet) so.... just thought I should clarify this before you guys think I'm brilliant. :-((
California Highway 1 in the Big Sur region is one of the state's most dangerous highways, even in good weather! Hm.... It is narrow (almost entirely one lane in each direction) and travelers who are driving slowly or have stopped entirely to admire the view can form hazards to other drivers. So, DON'T be a road-hogger!!
And PLEASE keep the following tips in mind:
Wear your seat belt at ALL times. It's THE law.
Keep your eyes on the road... and NOT on anything else. Hint, Hint!! If you want to enjoy the scenery, PULL OVER, like what we did. ;-)
Obey speed limits. DO NOT drive faster than necessary.....
If there's no vehicle immediately in front of you and five or more vehicles are immediately behind you, the CA state law requires that you pull to the side of the road and allow the other vehicles behind you to pass through. When pulling over, avoid quick stops on unpaved shoulders. Use marked turnouts where possible. O.K.?
Do not pass if the center lines are double yellow or are solid yellow on your side OR if your visibility ahead is impaired.
If you follow these rules carefully, you should be safe. Oh, and Happy Driving!!! :-))
Photo below: A strange road sign.... I hope you catch the humor. :-)) No... No... You can't find this road sign in Big Sur.... :-))
If you're going to the Big Sur area during rainy weather this winter, I would suggest that you consider and/or check into the relative safety of driving Highway 1 (an alternate route might be a better choice where possible). The Big Sur area suffered massive fires this summer, which means the danger of mud and rock slides during rainy weather may be even greater than normal.
You can check the Department of Transportation for current conditions and advisories.
Just something to think about when planning your trip . . .
Yep. When you're driving on the 1, you'll encounter twisty roads for an hour or more. It could be quite treacherous as it's right along the mountain. You'll be driving along the cliffs that overlook a beautiful view of the ocean. You have to keep your attention focused. Don't fumble with your phone or ipod during this time. People in your car might get car sick.
Also, you might wind up behind a very slow car and be stuck for a long time as you will not want to pass them on such a twisty road. It kind of sucks but you have to stick it out or flash them until they pull over and get out of your way. We were behind a huge trailer and that slowed our trip down significantly. We almost missed our tour appointment at Hearst Castle because of it!
My friend and i were driving north on rt 1 Pch by big sur when we discovered a visitor parking area.
I put my turn signal on about a 100 yards befor i turned. Next thing you know. A suv passes me on the right. Sidewiped me and ran of the road. Falling and tumbeling down a steep embarkment.
I thought for sure he is dead.
My friend and i ran to their aid and luckily the car did not fall all the way down to the ocean.!
We thought he or they are dead for sure after rolling twice into nowhere.
I got out of my car shaking and ran towards the car and climbed down to see a mom. Dad. 2 young boys and a 5 month old babytrying to get out. . . . .Long story short. Everone was fine but what made me mad was that there is no cellphone reception or a callbox to get help
this is a dangerous yet breath taking road and one needs to pay a lot more attention then getting out of a driveway.
If you are driving slower then the speed limit put your alarm flasher on to let the car behind you know you are sightseeing and either drive to the side and let them pass or speed up
i am happy we are alive and that the family was unharmed!
All wore seatbelts as well!
though the roads are narrow at some points,curving this way and that,the views,may steal your vision,And as always,people flock to the edges of the cliffs,to view the sun and sea,but,from someone who lived there,too many have slipped down those cliffs.Don't go out there,the view is the same from a few feet back.
and there are guardrails. I didn't notice too many drivers going too fast for the conditions. Actually, this road would be a piece of cake for any European driver.
Highway One is a dangerous road with turns and dips and hills and rocks and fog and tourists driving slow and locals driving fast.
Look where you are driving...dont drive where you are looking...